Traineeships given funding boost

The Government has announced an extra £20 million worth of funding for its traineeships programme, which aims to help young people prepare for - and secure - an apprenticeship or employment.

Launched in August 2013, traineeships are comprised of:

  • work preparation training provided by a learning provider
  • a high-quality work placement with the employer
  • literacy and numeracy studies if GCSE English and Maths at grade A*-C are not held.

They are aimed at 19-23 year olds who are out of work, have little or no work experience but are likely to be ready for an apprenticeship or job within six months.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that more than 500 training providers have pledged to take on trainees this year and 150 companies have expressed an interest in offering placements to young people.

Announcing the additional funding, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

"We have responded to this demand [from employers and training providers] by providing additional investment and in time traineeships will become the clear route for young people looking to get the crucial grounding they need in the world of work."

Last month, Kwik Fit's traineeship scheme was criticised by the National Union of Students (NUS) after an investigation by the newspaper FE Week found it was advertising for trainees to work a maximum of 39 hours per week, from Tuesday to Saturday, for up to 24 weeks.

NUS Vice President for FE Joe Vinson said it was 'unacceptable' to expect young people to work 39 hours a week for five months with no pay. Employers are not required to pay young people who take part in a traineeship.

While the Kwik Fit advert did not breach traineeship rules, FE Week Editor Nick Linford said that "the government must protect learners from the threat of exploitation from both the training provider and employer" if the scheme is to succeed.

Mr Linford also said that trainees should be paid if they are adding value to the workplace.